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August 31, 2013

Ring returns after 6 decades

CHICKASHA —

An 85-year-old woman will be reunited with her Chickasha High School class ring after it was flushed down the toilet in 1947.

The ring was retrieved by a sewer line cleaning crew in Stillwater, where Lodema Correia said the ring was lost. 

She met her first husband, Eddie Correia, at Chickasha High School. Eddie was three years older, Lodema said. He left for the Navy and when he came back Lodema had just graduated. The couple then moved to Stillwater. 

She said she thinks the ring was on the back of the toilet and her husband mistakenly knocked it into the bowl. 

Almost seven decades later, Charlie Yeats, a member of the cleaning crew, saw something shiny in the debris. Yeats picked the ring out and took it to Don Bishop with the City of Stillwater.

At first glance, Bishop said the crew thought it said 1996. They were surprised to find they were off a few decades. They identified it as a Chickasha High School class ring. They looked inside the ring and saw the initials L.N. Lodema's maiden name is Noland. 

Angela Widener, Chickasha High School librarian, said she received a call from Bishop. 

Widener then went through the school's archival books and found a program for the class of 1946 and searched for someone with the initials L.N. She discovered that  Lodema was a very involved student.  Eventually she tracked Lodema down with the help of Chickasha High School principal, Beth Edwards who knew a retired optometrist who graduated the same year. He knew that Lodema lived in northern Oklahoma City. 

Lodema said she was surprised when she received the call from Widener. 

"When she asked me 'Did you lose your class ring?' It stopped me dead in my tracks," Lodema said. 

"No telling how far it had gone. For them to say that they found it was just amazing," Lodema said.

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